President Obama will release his final budget today, andPolitico is reporting “...that Congress, in a break with tradition, said it won’t even hold hearings on this year’s budget request. That’s because the request 'will continue to focus on new spending proposals instead of tackling 'our $19 trillion in debt,’ Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) said last week.” Personally, I think there should always be a place for any administration to explain its proposals to Congress and that the traditional hearing fills that part of the process. Not inviting OMB Director Shaun Donovan to testify runs the risk of appearing petty and dismissive.
A majority of voters blame “big government” instead of “big Wall Street banks” for having a negative impact on their personal finances, a unique new survey by the American Action Forum (@AAF) found. The AAF survey examined public opinion on financial regulations in 30 congressional districts nationwide.
“Midnight” regulation refers to the historical rush of federal rules after Election Day and before the next president takes the oath of office. As a president leaves, if they are replaced by a president of a different political party, there will be an incentive to cement as many regulatory priorities as possible.
The refugee crisis emanating from the Middle East into Europe and surrounding areas has garnered national and global media attention. The U.N. Refugee Agency reports that more people were displaced by war and persecution in 2014 than in any other year on record, in large part due to the Syrian Civil War. In the United States, refugee policy has the focus of many policymakers. President Obama gave a nod to the Syrian Refugee Crisis during his final State of the Union when he declared “we’re partnering with local forces and leading international efforts to help that broken society pursue lasting peace.” He made a bolder statement, however, by inviting a well-known Syrian Refugee to sit with the First Lady during his address.
As part of the #Eakinomics video series, the American Action Forum (@AAF) today released a new video examining a recent proposal by House Speaker Paul Ryan to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for childless adults. In the #Eakinomics video, AAF President Douglas Holtz-Eakin explains how this proposal would increase employment by 8.3 million for childless adults and provide $1.3 billion to individuals in poverty.
The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer mandate requires that all medium and large employers offer health insurance coverage to full-time employees who work an average of 30 hours or more per week. As a result, many employers, particularly school districts, have been cutting employees’ hours to part-time, reducing staff, or privatizing services to avoid the mandate.
The president's budget will be out Tuesday, and the White House has leaked that it will propose a $10 per barrel tax on U.S. oil producers. As Politico reported, it "will propose more than $300 billion worth of investments over the next decade in mass transit, high-speed rail, self-driving cars, and other transportation approaches designed to reduce carbon emissions and congestion. To pay for it all, Obama will call for a $10 “fee” on every barrel of oil, a surcharge that would be paid by oil companies but would presumably be passed along to consumers.”
Two Affordable Care Act (ACA) rules pushed regulatory costs above $1.8 billion this week. Annualized burdens were $541 million, with no benefit figures; paperwork accelerated by 4.6 million hours. A transportation safety regulation led the week.
The January jobs report was generally strong, thanks to higher earnings, slightly lower unemployment and a longer work week. The top-line job growth was 151,000 – below most expectations. November’s numbers were revised up, but December’s number were revised down by nearly the same amount.
Today the Department of Labor provides the first read of 2016 on the state of the U.S. labor market. Recall that in December, payroll employment rose by 292,000, while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.0 percent. What can one expect in the January report?